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Sorghum Notes | October 5, 2017

Sorghum Notes | October 5, 2017

October 5, 2017

the voice of the sorghum industry

NSP Names 2018 Legislative Committee Members
National Sorghum Producers board of directors Chairman Don Bloss has appointed five new members to the NSP Legislative Committee. These members include Mike Brooks of Colorado, Devin Schierling of Kansas, Rex Rush of New Mexico, J.B. Stewart of Oklahoma and Samuel Sparks III of Texas.These producers and 12 existing committee members will serve the sorghum industry, shaping future policy and guiding the organization on legislative matters in accordance with NSP’s mission to lead legislative and regulatory change through effective policy and relationships for a more profitable, diverse and competitive sorghum industry. Their leadership will be of particular importance this year as work to complete the 2018 Farm Bill is carried out. Read more here.

House Passes 2018 Budget Resolution
The House passed its 2018 budget resolution Thursday morning paving the way for tax reform and for a new farm bill to be written. Although the resolution includes $10 billion in cuts to agriculture, the Senate version of the resolution, released last Friday, has no instructions for cuts to agriculture. Once the Senate passes their budget resolution, the two will have to agree on a final budget resolution. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) told Agri-Pulse news this week he expects the final House-Senate deal will omit any required cuts to agriculture spending and focus on tax reform. If that does happen, the House and Senate agriculture committees will be able to write the 2018 Farm Bill within spending amounts projected under current law. It will not allow for additional spending, but it will not require any cuts to be made either.

Senate Confirms Censky, McKinney to USDA Positions
The Senate confirmed Tuesday on a voice vote the nominations of Steve Censky to become deputy agriculture secretary and Ted McKinney to be the United States Department of Agriculture’s first undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Censky and McKinney are the first Senate-confirmed executives since Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s confirmation in April.

The Agriculture Committee held a hearing today for two additional nominees, Iowa Agriculture
Secretary Bill Northey, Trump’s pick to be undersecretary for farm and conservation programs, and
Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach for undersecretary of marketing and regulatory programs. The committee is expected to meet Monday evening to vote on the nominations.

EPA Holds Nomination Hearings
The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing, “Hearing on the Nominations of Michael Dourson, Matthew Leopold, David Ross and William Wehrum to be Assistant Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and Jeffery Baran to be a Member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission” on Wednesday. Some Democratic members of the committee members expressed concern regarding the ability of Dourson to uphold the current law and regulations introduced by the EPA, despite his industry experience and success as a toxicologist and professor in the Risk Science Center at the University of Cincinnati. During the hearing, Dourson was questioned on the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the recent chlorpyrifos debate. He pledged to “work with the talented staff of the Office of Pesticide Programs and bring impartiality to it or maintain that balance if it’s already there,” so the “American people can be assured that FIFRA is regulated the way it’s intended to be regulated, as a balance between risk and benefit.”

National Sorghum Producers joined 23 other organizations in a letter expressing support for Dr.
Michael Dourson as Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at the EPA. The letter highlights Dourson’s extensive experience in risk assessment and toxicology as an academic in both the government regulator and private sectors. Read the letter here.

U.S. DOE Awards Danforth Center $16M to Enhance Sorghum for Bioenergy
The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, one of the world’s largest independent plant science institutes, announced this week a five-year $16 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Danforth Center, who has focused much of their attention on sorghum in the last several years, will identify new genes and pathways that contribute to photosynthesis and enhanced water-use efficiency. The team will then deploy these genes using tools of the emerging field of synthetic biology to accelerate development of elite energy sorghum varieties for production under marginal environments. Read more here.

Democrats Push for $40 Billion Investment in Rural Broadband
Congressional Democrats held a press conference September 28 to introduce “A Better Deal,” a plan to bring high-speed internet service to all Americans. Over 34 million Americans, including 23 million who live in rural areas, do not have internet service available to them at adequate speed and quality. During the conference, several lawmakers told stories of students trying to get into college, farmers hoping to use new precision technologies and businesses trying to expand, but were limited due to inadequate internet. The plan states that high-speed internet providers would compete against each other (in a reverse auction fashion) to win support to deploy service in unserviced and underserved areas. Additionally, the plan calls to upgrade the nation’s critical safety infrastructure, particularly the 9-1-1 system to ensure essential digital information can be properly relayed from citizens to first responders.

#FarmBillFacts Series from the House Agriculture Committee
The House Agriculture Committee released its first graphic this week as part of a new series on social media, #FarmBillFacts. You can see the first graphic below, which includes a beautiful sorghum photo. This series is designed to help educate the public on the importance of American agriculture and the policies that support our agricultural economy. We encourage you to follow this series and re-share the facts on your own social media profiles. 

Enter the 2017 National Sorghum Producers Yield Contest
Sorghum harvest is, or will soon be, underway for many. We pray for a safe and bountiful harvest for all of our sorghum growers, and remind you to enter the National Sorghum Growers Yield Contest before beginning harvest. The NSP Yield Contest provides sorghum farmers with the opportunity to showcase their sorghum crop, competing with farmers across the Sorghum Belt. This contest allows our industry to recognize some of the best growers in the U.S. and helps farmers to grow and learn from one another.

Entry forms must be postmarked, emailed or faxed at least ten days prior to harvest of the contest acreage. Harvest rules, a harvest report form, and a management information form will be mailed to the contestant as soon as the entry entry is received. All forms must be completed and in the NSP office no later than December 1. For more information, click here.

NSP-BASF Scholarship Open
Applications for the National Sorghum Foundation-BASF Joint Scholarship are now open. The scholarship will include a tuition award for the 2018-2019 school year as well as cover recipients’ cost to attend the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California. Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in an agriculturally related curriculum. Students must be a child or grandchild of an NSP member, and undergraduates must be entering at least their second year of study by the 2018-2019 academic year.

Click here to download the application. Applications are due December 1, 2017. For questions or to submit application materials, please contact Debra Lloyd at or 806-749-3478.

Crop Update
By week’s end, sorghum coloring had advanced to 94 percent complete, two percentage points behind last year but equal to the five-year average. Nationwide, 60 percent of the sorghum crop was mature by October 1, 10 percentage points behind last year and three points behind the five-year average. By week’s end, 34 percent of the nation’s crop was harvested, six percentage points behind last year and three points behind the five-year average. The sorghum harvest was 21 percentage points behind the five-year average in South Dakota. Overall, 64 percent of the sorghum crop was reported in good to excellent condition, unchanged from ratings last week but two percentage points lower than at the same time last year.

Export Report
Export sales were very strong this week with China committing to purchase 4.6 million bushels. This brings total commitments to 52 million bushels, 25 percent of the USDA projection just four weeks into the marketing year. Basis continues to strengthen on this demand with some central Kansas terminal markets now trading old crop sorghum at a premium to corn. Western basis has risen, as well. Gulf basis strength continued on the solid export news with sorghum for November delivery trading at a 17 percent premium to corn, or $4.77 per bushel.

Sorghum in the Spotlight:
U.S. Department of Energy Awards Danforth Center $16M to Enhance Sorghum for Bioenergy – NewsWise
Super Sorghum – The Progressive Farmer
Sorghum Harvest in Nebraska – 1011 Now
Sorghum Poised for a Comeback – KGNC

Upcoming Sorghum Events
Oct. 9-10       State Executive & Leadership Roundtable, Dallas, TX
Oct. 17-19      Sunbelt Ag Expo, Moultrie, GA
Oct. 17           San Patricio County Sorghum PAC Lunch, Sinton, TX
Oct. 17           Rio Grande Valley Sorghum PAC Dinner, Monte Alto, TX
Oct. 18           Nueces County Sorghum PAC Dinner, Robstown, TX
Oct. 21-24      Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, Chicago, IL

For a full view of calendar events, visit the NSP website calendar.

Market News – To view this week’s Gulf export grain report, click here.

Sign Up to Receive the Sorghum Checkoff e-Newsletter
Sorghum producers can also receive monthly e-newsletters from the United Sorghum Checkoff Program. To receive monthly news and information regarding the Sorghum Checkoff’s efforts in sorghum research, education and market development, sign up here. You can also follow the Sorghum Checkoff on Twitter @SorghumCheckoff, on Facebook and Instagram @SorghumCheckoff.

About Sorghum Notes
Sorghum Notes is a publication of the National Sorghum Producers. NSP represents U.S. sorghum producers and serves as the voice of the sorghum industry from coast to coast through education and legislative and regulatory representation.

Quote of the Week
“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.” -Lewis Carroll